At present, China has the largest hydrogen production capacity in the world. It is understood to have generated 16 million tonnes of hydrogen in 2012 and grew to 20-22 million tonnes in 2018.

Therefore, the country has a good foundation of production capability to supply the potential future needs of a hydrogen economy – or the ‘hydrogen energy industry’ as it known instead in China.

According to The Blue Book on the Infrastructure Development of the Hydrogen Energy Industry of China (2016), which is prepared by The China National Institute of Standardization and The Technical Committee of the National Hydrogen Economy Standardisation, by 2020 as much as 72 billion m3 of hydrogen will be used as energy and the gross industrial output value of the industry will reach RMB 300bn ($44.4bn). This will further increase to RMB 1,000bn ($148bn) and RMB 4,000bn ($592 bn) by 2030 and 2050, respectively.

Recently, the China Hydrogen Alliance released its first White Book on the China Hydrogen Energy and Fuel Cell Industry (25th June). The Alliance was established in February 2018, led by China Energy Investment Corporation, with members from many renowned organisations including universities, Linde, Air Products, and Air Liquide.

It is described in the document that, in the short-term from 2020 to 2025, the industrial output of the hydrogen industry will achieve RMB 1,000bn ($148bn) and there will be 50,000 fuel cell vehicles running in China, served by 200 refilling stations.

From 2026 to 2035, it is said that the industrial output of the industry will jump to RMB 5,000bn ($740bn) and there will be as many as 1,500 hydrogen refuelling stations to fill the 15 million fuel cell vehicles.

By 2050, it adds, hydrogen will constitute 10% of the energy system in China with a total demand of 60 million tonnes of hydrogen, and an annual economic output of more than RMB 10,000bn ($1,480bn).

gasworld will publish the full feature, titled ‘The hydrogen economy in China’, in gasworld Global’s upcoming 9th issue of 2019.